You never want to be unprepared when presenting. This time, I am not referring to not knowing the contents of your presentation or not knowing your audience. These are the essential items you should have with you when traveling to do a presentation.
- A backup of your presentation. So many presenters will say they don’t need a copy because it’s on their laptop and they checked it before they left the office. Or, it’s on a CD that happened to get crushed in transit. Always have at least two versions – one on the laptop, one on a flash drive or on an online storage site, such as Dropbox.
- An extra power cord. This one actually happened to me. I went to plug in my laptop and the cord was not supplying power for some reason. “It happens…” I was told by the manufacturer. After time, the power cord can become ineffective. So, as I watched the battery drain, I rushed to get through my presentation. Now there is always an extra in my bag.
- A long VGA cable. At least 12 feet in length, if not longer. This way, you can set up your laptop where you want it rather than being restricted by the 3-foot cord the conference center provides for you. Whether you want the laptop up on a table in front or on a podium, etc., this cord will come in handy.
- A wireless mouse / remote. This will help with slide transitions and ease of walking through the presentation. You won’t have to keep walking back and forth to the laptop (especially if you don’t have your longer VGA cord).
- A USB-powered speaker. If you have audio in your presentation, this is essential. Imagine a room of 50 people trying to hear audio from your laptop’s tiny sound system… it’s not going to happen. With a small but powerful USB speaker, you can plug it right into the side of your laptop, you don’t have to worry about a power source, and the audience will be able to hear what you have prepared.
This is a good starting point so you don’t get caught unprepared. I am sure everyone has their own list (or at least they should). Leave me a comment and let me know what you always have in your travel bag.